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Acquisition of Rare Work by Pionner Hannah Höch

Hannah Höch, Aus der Sammlung: Aus einem ethnografischen Museum Nr. IX, ca. 1929. Collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam collection. Acquired with the support of the Rembrandt Association (thanks in part to its Helze Fund) and the Mondriaan Fund.
Hannah Höch, Aus der Sammlung: Aus einem ethnografischen Museum Nr. IX, ca. 1929. Collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam collection. Acquired with the support of the Rembrandt Association (thanks in part to its Helze Fund) and the Mondriaan Fund.

The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam has acquired the collage Aus der Sammlung: Aus einem ethnographischen Museum no. IX (ca. 1929) by artist Hannah Höch, courtesy of the Rembrandt Association (thanks in part to its Helze Fund) and the Mondriaan Fund. As the originator of photomontage and with her astute view of social developments, she ranks among the avant-garde of the early twentieth century. The acquired work reveals that humor and experimentation coupled with caustic social commentary still feel contemporary almost a hundred years later. The work goes on view as of 18 May in the new exhibition MODERN.

Hannah Höch (1889-1978) was a German artist with close ties to the Dada movement. She is best known for her groundbreaking collages and photomontages. Höch cut photographs out of illustrated magazines and fashion magazines and combined them into surreal compositions. Her often witty images challenge conventional ideas of gender and identity. Much of her work comments on political and social issues of the day, such as women’s role in society and the rise of Nazism. The rebellious and critical spirit of the interwar period are captured in Höch’s bold compositions of everyday images borrowed from the mass media. Through her radical experimentations, she made a major contribution to the artistic language of the avant-garde, which continues to echo to this day.

In Aus der Sammlung: Aus einem ethnographischen Museum no. IX, from a series of seventeen photomontages, Hannah Höch spliced images of Karl Zörgiebel, Berlin’s police chief at the time, with an Egyptian torso and women’s legs. She produced the work in response to the bloody suppression of traditional workers’ rallies in Berlin in 1929. Zörgiebel banned the parades and ordered shots to be fired into the crowd, leading to 30 deaths and dozens wounded. In protest, Höch produced a collage in which she critiques and mocks gender roles and our view of ‘masculinity’ and ‘femininity’.

Rein Wolfs, director Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam: “It is highly unusual for a work from this series to appear on the market and not to have entered a Dutch museum collection. Other collages from this series are in international museums such as MoMA and Centre Pompidou. We are enormously grateful to the Rembrandt Association and the Mondriaan Fund for adding an artist of this stature to the collection. Thanks to their support, the Stedelijk can show more works by women artists from the last century. Hannah Höch is a major figure in art history and will soon have a prominent place in our large-scale Modern exhibition. The purchased work will be a regular feature of our permanent collection in future.

Geert-Jan Janse, director Rembrandt Association: “The acquisition of this incisive collage by Hannah Höch aligns perfectly with Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam’s collection policy. The museum is taking bold, ambitious steps to close gaps in its collection, with a focus on women artists and artists from non-Western countries. Previously, the Rembrandt Association also supported the acquisition of El Anatsui’s In The World But Don’t Know the World and that of the installation Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner Too? by patricia kaersenhout. With this significant acquisition, Höch’s oeuvre is better represented in Dutch collections and a wider audience will be able to discover her work. I would like to thank our members whose commitment to public art ownership makes such acquisitions possible.

Eelco van der Lingen, director Mondriaan Fonds: “Aus einem ethnografischen Museum is one of the most outspoken and radical series within Hannah Höch’s oeuvre. A pioneer in montage technique, Höch used collages to convey socially critical messages, which are relevant from both an art-historical and contemporary perspective. Moreover, relatively little has been collected within the Dutch State Collection in the field of Dada, especially by female artists. The purchase is thus an important acquisition for the Dutch art collection and the Dutch public.” 


In the collection, the photomontage of Hannah Höch complements that of her contemporaries George Grosz and Kurt Schwitters, as well as the work of other interwar artists. Together with Grosz, Schwitters and others, the acquisition gives a more comprehensive glimpse of the Dada movement, which defied both the art canon and the establishment. Almost a hundred years on, Höch’s works have lost none of their relevance. Her work touches on current issues about the position of women and the female artist, the relationship between modernism and non-European art, and the phenomenon of ‘othering’.


Opening on 18 May at the Stedelijk, MODERN sheds new light on 19th- and early 20th-century modern artists and designers who wanted their work to be appreciated not only by the elite, but to be enjoyed by the many. A story about the intermingling of aesthetics and ethics, which also addresses the interplay between European and non-European art and design. With works by Van Gogh, Thonet, Millet, Joseph Israëls, Breitner, Robertson, Valadon, Jan Toorop, William Morris, Berlage, Léger, Cassandre, Krull, Breuer and others, and objects from Morocco, Indonesia and Fiji, among others.


Aus einem ethnographischen Museum no. IX (ca. 1929) by Hannah Höch was acquired with the support of the Rembrandt Association (thanks in part to its Helze Fonds) and the Mondriaan Fund.

For more information and visual material, please contact the Stedelijk Museum Press Office at


On Wednesday 17 May, the Stedelijk Museum is hosting a press preview for the MODERN exhibition. Hannah Höch’s acquisition will feature prominently in the exhibition and will be on display for the first time then. To register, email us at 

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